Welcome to the Dragons’ lair!

Because Climate Change is finally getting the attention it deserves, after waiting since 1972, we have decided to open a new category where we welcome a discussion. Please e mail us or add to the comment section that follows each post. We will post all comments that are reasonable – not just those that agree with our opinion.
Now please click on the CLIMATE CHANGE category to see the posts. Help us all by offering solutions that combine to solve the problem.

We are four dragons who share our words, thoughts and work here on our blog – we also welcome anyone else to share their stories, poems, articles, reviews… and anything else!
Meet our bloggers

Here you will find our posts in various categories, and although most of these are what you might expect, here, in brief, is what you can find:

– writing – we are writers, that’s what we do, but we have separated our posts into categories. Please click on one of the links below or choose a category from the alphabetical list to the left

.

We also share posts on specific subjects:

Our writers post whole stories – which will or already have been published:

As well as sharing our writing, we write about writing, language, we review different arts, and the progress we are making on our own writing projects:

…and then there are the odds and ends…

You can find details about our books on our Dragon Bookshop page.

DON’T FORGET OUR NEW FAVOURITES PAGES! You can find them on the home page.

73 blogs…2 writers…1 challenge… Here you will find a featured book. It may be a launch of a new book we have written or a review of one of our favourites that we have written previously.

 

Brimdraca / Lois        –     Lois

Eorodraca / Richard  –    Richard

October 2nd… and our September review

Welcome to our October review, which once again is actually more of a monthly update.

First of all can we send all continuing good wishes to our wise dragon Sigedraca, who is still recovering from a broken wing (okay, actually it’s her leg); she is now vertical  and able to look the world in the face again with her all-seeing eye! Her creativity is undiminished but at present she is exploring her artistic side and sharing original photos with her very original take on small domestic and medical items. As, we mentioned last month, we dragons have faced several personal challenges recently, which has severely affected our output. However we hope that soon we will be writing and sharing regularly,  and we will keep you updated.

So, a few stats: in September we received 277 views and 206 lovely visitors from various countries around the world.  As ever, it is really great and much appreciated, thank you very much to you all across the world! To all our readers, world-wide, thank you so much for joining us, and welcome to all our new friends.

The blog

Whatever the restrictions, we can still roam in our imaginations and we welcome any contributions to our blog, especially now, from anyone who would like to write articles, stories or poems about anything! We love to share others writing of all sorts! Please send us any stories, poems, articles which we can share here – copyrighted to you and with full credits to you and links to your places!

News

Lois has been away on a writing retreat near Glastonbury and the small village of Compton Dundon – staying in gypsy caravans! She would like to remind you that all her books are now available as paperbacks, as well as eBooks. She has been very busy with her next and as yet untitled Radwinter story, number eight in the series. She has now published a collection of 100 blog posts, each with 100 words, which she completed over 100 days. This was in response to it being the occasion of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore’s birthday, when a hundred thing challenge was announced. Ordinary folk were challenged to make/complete/do a hundred of a thing and be sponsored or donate to the Captain Tom Foundation. Lois completed her challenge and donated £100 to the foundation – she asked for no sponsorship or donations, but is publishing her 100 posts in 100 days as a book and any profit will also be donated.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/100-words-100m-blogs-days/dp/B09FC6C2R5/ref=sr_1_17?crid=2E5KR50C51DVR&keywords=lois+elsden&qid=1633173994&sprefix=lois+elsd%2Caps%2C272&sr=8-17

We are all very excited that Richard is working on further tales from the Strangled Ferret, updates soon! All Richard’s books are also available:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3ARICHARD+KEFFORD&s=relevancerank&text=RICHARD+KEFFORD&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_2

John, Lois and Richard belong to a writing group who are now pulling together stories, poems and other pieces to make a collection for an anthology. Early days, but we will bring you news and more details as it becomes available. The working title is ‘Pendemic: 5 writers in lockdown’.

Dragon publications

All our published work is available on Amazon, search for Gillian Peall, John Watts, Richard Kefford, and Lois Elsden.

Just a reminder that our friend historian and blogger, Andrew Simpson,  is writing some very interesting articles not only addressing the difficulties of our times, but how ordinary people, just like us, coped in the past. You can find his blog https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/ ; his published books are available on Amazon.

A further reminder, our friend Ann Bancroft also has a book available on Amazon, an account of her spiritual journey.

Until next month, au revoir and many thanks once again to all our viewers/readers!

September 4th… and our August review

Welcome to our September review, which once again is actually more of a monthly update.

First of all can we send all good wishes to our wise dragon Sigedraca, who is still recovering from a broken wing (okay, actually it’s her leg) and we hope she is soon up and about and looking at the world with her all-seeing eye! As, we mentioned last month, we dragons have faced several personal challenges recently, which has severely affected our output. However we hope that soon we will be writing and sharing regularly,  and we will keep you updated.

So, a few stats: in August we received 242 views and 212 lovely visitors from 26 different countries.  As ever, it is really great and much appreciated, thank you very much to you all across the world! To all our readers, world-wide, thank you so much for joining us, and welcome to all our new friends.

The blog

Whatever the restrictions, we can still roam in our imaginations and we welcome any contributions to our blog, especially now, from anyone who would like to write articles, stories or poems about anything! We love to share others writing of all sorts! Please send us any stories, poems, articles which we can share here – copyrighted to you and with full credits to you and links to your places!

News

Lois would like to remind you that al her books are now available as paperbacks, as well as eBooks. She has been very busy with her next and as yet untitled Radwinter story, number eight in the series. She is also about to publish a collection of 100 posts, each with 100 words, which she completed over 100 days. This was in response to it being the occasion of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore’s birthday, when a hundred thing challenge was announced. Ordinary folk were challenged to make/complete/do a hundred of a thing and be sponsored or donate to the Captain Tom Foundation. Lois completed her challenge and donated £100 to the foundation – she asked for no sponsorship or donations, but is publishing her 100 posts in 100 days as a book and any profit will also be donated.

John, Lois and Richard belong to a writing group who are now pulling together stories, poems and other pieces to make a collection for an anthology. Early days, but we will bring you news and more details as it becomes available. The working title is ‘Pendemic: 5 writers in lockdown’.

Dragon publications

All our published work is available on Amazon, search for Gillian Peall, John Watts, Richard Kefford, and Lois Elsden.

Just a reminder that our friend historian and blogger, Andrew Simpson,  is writing some very interesting articles not only addressing the difficulties of our times, but how ordinary people, just like us, coped in the past. You can find his blog https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/ ; his published books are available on Amazon.

A further reminder, our friend Ann Bancroft also has a book available on Amazon, an account of her spiritual journey.

Until next month, au revoir and many thanks once again to all our viewers/readers!

August 1st… and our July review

Welcome to our August review, which once again is actually more of a monthly update.

First of all can we send all good wishes to our wise dragon Sigedraca, who is recovering from a broken wing (okay, actually it’s her leg) and we hope she is soon up and about and looking at the world with her all-seeing eye! As, we mentioned last month, we dragons have faced several personal challenges recently, which has severely affected our output. However we hope that soon we will be writing and sharing regularly, but will keep you updated.

So, a few stats: in July we received 361 views and 254 lovely visitors from 29 different countries.  As ever, it is really great and much appreciated, thank you very much to you all across the world! To all our readers, world-wide, thank you so much for joining us, and welcome to all our new friends.

The blog

Whatever the restrictions, we can still roam in our imaginations and we welcome any contributions to our blog, especially now, from anyone who would like to write articles, stories or poems about anything! We love to share others writing of all sorts! Please send us any stories, poems, articles which we can share here – copyrighted to you and with full credits to you and links to your places!

News

Lois would like to remind you that al her books are now available as paperbacks, as well as eBooks. She has been very busy with her next and as yet untitled Radwinter story, number eight in the series.

Lois has also set herself a new challenge, which appears on her own blog, https://loiselsden.com/2021/05/01/100/ . On the occasion of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore’s birthday, a hundred thing challenge was announced. Ordinary folk were challenged to make/complete/do a hundred of a thing and be sponsored or donate to the Captain Tom Foundation. Lois set herself the challenge to write one hundred one- hundred word blogs over 100 days. She is now on Day 93 – nearing the end! – and has written nine thousand two hundred words on all sorts of topics, including family, walking the dog and hanging out the washing; Lois is  strangely taken with writing about this domestic task, and has also written a dozen pomes – she doesn’t grace them with the word ‘poems’- about it!

John, Lois and Richard belong to a writing group who are now pulling together stories, poems and other pieces to make a collection for an anthology. Early days, but we will bring you news and more details as it becomes available. The working title is ‘Pendemic: 5 writers in lockdown’.

Dragon publications

All our published work is available on Amazon, search for Gillian Peall, John Watts, Richard Kefford, and Lois Elsden.

Just a reminder that our friend historian and blogger, Andrew Simpson,  is writing some very interesting articles not only addressing the difficulties of our times, but how ordinary people, just like us, coped in the past. You can find his blog https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/ ; his published books are available on Amazon.

A further reminder, our friend Ann Bancroft also has a book available on Amazon, an account of her spiritual journey.

Until next month, au revoir and many thanks once again to all our viewers/readers!

June review / July update

Welcome to our June review, which actually is more of a July update.

We dragons have faced several personal challenges recently, which has severely affected our output, however we hope that soon we will be writing and sharing regularly, but will keep you updated.

So, a few stats: in June we received 334 views and 278 lovely visitors from 22 different countries.  As ever, it is really great and much appreciated, thank you very much to you all across the world! To all our readers, world-wide, thank you so much for joining us, and welcome to all our new friends.

The blog

Whatever the restrictions, we can still roam in our imaginations and we welcome any contributions to our blog, especially now, from anyone who would like to write articles, stories or poems about anything! We love to share others writing of all sorts! Please send us any stories, poems, articles which we can share here – copyrighted to you and with full credits to you and links to your places!

News

Lois would like to remind you that al her books are now available as paperbacks, as well as eBooks. She has been very busy with her next and as yet untitled Radwinter story, number eight in the series.

Lois has also set herself a new challenge, which appears on her own blog, https://loiselsden.com/2021/05/01/100/ . On the occasion of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore’s birthday, a hundred day challenge was announced. Ordinary folk were challenged to make/complete/do a hundred of a thing and be sponsored or donate to the Captain Tom Foundation. Lois set herself the challenge to write one hundred one hundred word blogs over 100 days. She is now on Day 64 and has written nearly six and a half thousand words on all sorts of topics, including family, walking the dog and hanging out the washing (she’s strangely taken with writing about this domestic task, and has also written a dozen pomes on it!)

John, Lois and Richard belong to a writing group who are now pulling together stories, poems and other pieces to make a collection for an anthology. Early days, but we will bring you news and more details as it becomes available. The working title is ‘Pendemic: 5 writers in lockdown’.

Dragon publications

All our published work is available on Amazon, search for Gillian Peall, John Watts, Richard Kefford, and Lois Elsden.

Just a reminder that our friend historian and blogger, Andrew Simpson,  is writing some very interesting articles not only addressing the difficulties of our times, but how ordinary people, just like us, coped in the past. You can find his blog https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/ ; his published books are available on Amazon.

A further reminder, our friend Ann Bancroft also has a book available on Amazon, an account of her spiritual journey.

Until next month, au revoir and many thanks once again to all our viewers/readers!

Very belated, but here is our May review

Welcome to our May and apologies for its late arrival. It’s nearly fifteen months since our world and our lives changed so dramatically, and for many so disastrously. Here in the UK we are the battle is ongoing, although there’s positive news too as science fights back. We hope wherever you live progress is also being made. However, we aren’t forgetting those places where the situation is serious and challenging, and we send our thoughts and hopes for positive news from those stricken places.

We writing has been a support to you, and we hope that you, your family and friends are safe and well, and offer our sincere thoughts to any of you who have been affected in any way whatsoever.

First of all…

We dragons have faced several personal challenges recently, which has affected our output, however we hope that soon we will be writing and sharing regularly, but will keep you updated.

So, a few stats: in April we received 498 views and 327 lovely visitors from 16 different countries.  As ever, it is really great and much appreciated, thank you very much to you all across the world! To all our readers, world-wide, thank you so much for joining us, and welcome to all our new friends.

The blog

Whatever the restrictions, we can still roam in our imaginations and we welcome any contributions to our blog, especially now, from anyone who would like to write articles, stories or poems about anything! We love to share others writing of all sorts! Please send us any stories, poems, articles which we can share here – copyrighted to you and with full credits to you and links to your places!

News

Lois’s news:

Lois has been busy with her next and as yet untitled Radwinter story, number eight in the series. She has also set herself a new challenge, which appears on her own blog, https://loiselsden.com/2021/05/01/100/ . On the occasion of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore’s birthday, a hundred day challenge has been announced. Ordinary folk have been challenged to do a hundred of a thing over a hundred days, and to be sponsored or donate to the Captain Tom Foundation. Lois is now on Day 49 and has written a century of words on all sorts of topics, including swimming, going to the pub, meeting friends and of course writing!

Other dragon news:

John, Lois and Richard belong to a writing group who are now pulling together stories, poems and other pieces to make a collection for an anthology. Early days, but we will bring you news and more details as it becomes available. The working title is Pendemic: 5 writers in lockdown.

Dragon publications

All our published work is available on Amazon, search for Gillian Peall, John Watts, Richard Kefford, and Lois Elsden.

Just a reminder that our friend historian and blogger, Andrew Simpson, who shares many of the stories from his own blog, is writing some very interesting articles not only addressing the difficulties of our times, but how ordinary people, just like us, coped in the past. You can find his blog https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/ ; his published books are available on Amazon.

A further reminder, our friend Ann Bancroft also has a book available on Amazon, an account of her spiritual journey.

Until the end of next month, au revoir! Keep following our blog!!

What I missed during lockdown

I missed our children. I missed their daily news. Just a telephone summary had to do.

I missed our grandchildren who will see us as part strangers from the ‘phone after a year. 

We will get them to know us again, we will not let them unknow us.

I miss the year of my life that I haven’t properly lived, never to come back.

I miss our friends and family that slipped away from us without the chance to honour them with a last respectful goodbye.

I missed the quiet enjoyment of life – now always filled with news of variants, threats of further restrictions.

I missed the meeting up of different groups, creative writing , geology and…I missed the reading aloud of our own writing, face to face with a chunky cup of strong coffee. I missed the field trips exploring geology with like minded people in the quiet countryside. I missed the after talk in the pub about the unknowableness of deep time.

Most of all I missed the comfort and knowledge of the predictability of continuity, space,  time and familial environment, what is now called Solastalgia, that weighs heavily on our minds.

© Richard Kefford 2021

Shakespeare’s spiel chequer ( Rev III )

Old Bill was hunched over his computer.

’ What sort of computer is it?’ asked Rodney. 

‘It’s a Dell, boy,’ answered Bill gruffly as he struggled to finish writing his new play. 

‘Is it working well? asked Rodney, who was itching to get his hands on it so that he could see how good it was. 

‘It’s not three bad,’ said Bill. ‘It has a couple of problems in that the RAM is too small – it was born prematurely and got Baaaahed and me Bard from the tavern. The floppy disc drive has a major problem because plastic hasn’t been invented yet so I have had to make do with a wooden disc to store all my scripts. This is a little slow and it works OK, but when I put them in my store, they get damaged by woodworm, which doesn’t improve the spelling.

‘Why don’t you pop down the road to PC World and see if they have a new one on special offer?’ 

‘I’ve tried that but they are very difficult to talk to as they are a fully woke organisation.  They insisted on calling my computer a He instead of an It and said that if they upgraded It/He  then they would have to refer to He as a They. They also  wanted to flog me an apple instead of a computer and my mate Isaac says that they keep dropping off the tree. I asked about the new operating system but they said that was expensive because of the poxy new window tax.’ 

‘I’d have one of those new apples, they’ve got a new core processor that runs really fast. 

‘Well, if you’re so clever, why don’t you have a go at fixing the spell chequer on this thing?’ 

‘Why, what’s wrong with it?’ 

‘As things are a bit slow in the playwriting business, I’ve been taking commissions from shops to write some adverts for them. Look at this one; I tried to write a slogan for a camping shop to stick in the window to advertise their winter sale. It came up with the strap line,”Now is the winter of our discontent.” 

‘What’s wrong with that?’ asked Rodney. 

‘I wrote; “Now is the winter of our discount tents.” How can you work with a machine that messes up all your writing?’ asked an exasperated Bill. ‘I had to give up on that one as the shop keeper told me that someone else had already come up with the same line. “Who was that?” I asked.‘

It was a guy who you might know, Christopher Marlowe?’

‘Oh yes, alas poor Chris – I knew him well.’

‘So then I had to try and think up a suitable replacement line. I did this by quickly canvassing the people around the town but I was told that you cannot run through a camp site, you have to use the passed tents.’

‘I also had a commission from a shopkeeper who sold winter clothing, I wrote; “Many are cold but a few are frozen”. The computer said, “Many are called but few are chosen”. I ask you, what does that mean?’ 

‘I tell you what,’ offered Rodney. ‘Let me have the computer for about 12 hours and I’ll check it over, upgrade the RAM, install a new hard drive and upgrade the operating system to Windows 007. Then you should see big difference in performance. I can get the upgrades cheap at ITEA, as long as I assemble them myself.’ 

‘OK,’ said Bill, ‘I don’t understand what you are wittering on about but I’m willing to give it a go if you think it will help, but will it sort out the spell chequer?’ 

‘Should do,’ said lying Rodney. ‘I’ll shut it down and take it back to my workshop in Silicon Alley.’ 

‘OK,’ said Bill. I’ll see you back here tomorrow with my “good as new computer.” Thanks Rodney.’ 

They had a quick high three and then Rodney was off.  Bill spent the evening laboriously quill writing out the script for his latest advert for a shopkeeper in Venice who sold organic bailers for dinghies. “Just one corn…” he hadn’t got very far. He was sure he had script writer’s block. He segued into thinking about a song about angling. He enjoyed fishing. “I’ve been fishing for seal but I’ve just caught an eel – it’s a moray.” 

He dreamily thought back to the time when he was running his farming advice programme on Thy Tube. He was proud of his script writing then. He wrote a piece about pig farming, called Hamlet. It went down very well, especially after he cured the pigs and called on Francis Bacon to try it. His vegetable growing advice column was widely said to be the best of it’s time. He was especially proud of his advice “ To thine own self beetroot.” It was getting dark, well, it was the winter’s tail, so he blew out the candle, put his quill back on the goose and laid his head down for the night – hoping for dreams of a new play. 

***** 

The sun was lighting up his studio, the lark was pottering around the kitchen so he thought he had better get up with it. He sipped his jug of ale – coffee hadn’t bean invented yet. He had dreamed of a new play, a romance between two young lovers, Alfa Romero and Juilietta Bugati. 

He had not slept well as he had been worrying about any new business he might get.

While he was waiting for Rodney to turn up with his rejuvenated computer, he whiled away the time by writing the play in his head. He had just got to a balcony scene where Miss Bugati was wondering where Mr Romero was, when Rodney rushed in.

‘Hey, my Lord, I…’ 

‘Wait’, said Bill.’ Rodney was cut off in mid declaration. ’I’ve just got a new client who wants to promote his creamed rice. He sent me a P Mail overnight. The poor pigeon was exhausted after doing a double shift, so I fed him some pumpkin seeds and then let him go. I had to show him the way home on a map as his GPS thingy wasn’t working too well, so he probably had to wing it. 

I suggested to my new client that I write a sonnet rather than just a simple strap line.’

‘Huh?’ exclaimed a bemused Rodders

‘See what you think,’ said Will I Am. ‘This is what I wrote.’

‘Shall I compare thee to a can of rice?
Round of body but top and base conflate:
Financial storms inflate the bogof price,
Anne Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hard the might of Tesco strike,
And oft his gold ramps up the price
as every fair trade cost from far oft places spike:
By chance or corporate plans change to gneiss.

But thy internal dessert shall not decay,
Nor lose possession of that fair trade thou must,
Nor shall Death erode and change day to day
When time advances, to sell by or change to rust.

So long as men can breathe, or palate can taste
So long lives this, not set to fall to waste.

“Sounds good to me, agreed Rodney, who was partial to a dollop or three of Ambrosia.

‘Look at what the stupid thing came up with.’ ‘Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day? How would I ever make that into a sonnet?

‘Dunno,’ agreed a baffled Rodney.

‘Is that my computer?’ demanded Bill.
‘Indeed my lord,’ said Rodney eager to please, and get paid. ‘Demonstrate then,’ demanded Bill. 

The computer was set carefully on the table, plugged into the wall paraffin socket and switched on. Rodney kicked it as he knew that computers had to be booted. Eventually it woke up and asked for a password. ‘What is your password my lord? asked Rodney deferentially – he knew what the answer would be… 

…After waiting on the phone for 37 minutes listening to “hey, Nonny no” many times, they eventually heard a human voice. ‘Hello Microsoft help desk, your call is very important to us so we will be recording this call for training purposes. How may I be of service to you this fine, sunny morning?’ 

‘Why is Microsoft training porpoises?’ asked a curious Rodney.

‘Hold thy tongue, scurvy companion’ hissed Bill ‘I’ve forgotten my password and I need a new one.’ 

‘No problem,’ said the cheery voice, ‘ just log on to our web site and follow the instructions.’ 

‘How do I log on when my computer won’t work without a password?’ asked Bill in a dangerously reasonable voice. 

‘That’s what we call the windows paradox. When you most need your computer, you have no way of making it work… except by giving Microsoft a shed load of shekels, err, that’s techy slang for money, by the way.’ 

‘How much,’ asked Bill through clenched teeth. 

‘Well it roughly equates to a pound of flesh, we don’t accept any jots of blood or debit cards of course.’ 

‘You can take as much of Rodney’s flesh as you like it,’ he said, ‘Just make sure you take it measure for measure.’ 

‘I’m still here you know’ said an aggrieved Rodney. 

‘Look upon it as a super fast diet plan,’ suggested Bill. 

***** 

The jovial banter was ended, the bill had been paid by a reluctant Bill and an even more reluctant Rodney. The computer was now working, windows were open, the birds were singing so Bill asked the Word program to open. 

‘OK’, it squeaked, and opened on its new hinges. Oh the wonder of it! 

‘Why don’t you type in your latest slogan and see what it does,’ suggested a lean, bandaged Rodney. 

Bill did so.
‘Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo.’
‘Merde,’ said Bill – he was proud of being a polyglot. ‘ That’s not right, it should be: “Alfa Romero, Alfa Romero, what art there is in an Alfa Romero.”  ‘I’ll be a laughing stock in all the car showrooms across Italy. I’ll never get a play on stage anywhere on the globe now. 

‘Well, that’s predictive text for you,’ giggled Rodney. ‘ Do you think I’ll get my pound of flesh back?’

‘I predict not,’ said Bill.

© Richard Kefford 2021

Anthology

Exciting news from the Somerset Dragons, they are at present editing an anthology in which they feature as well as other members of their writing group. It’s title is yet to be decided, but it will probably be something along the lines of ‘Pendemic: five writers in lockdown‘, but we will bring you news as soon as we have it. Meanwhile, Lois has news on a similar theme:

Lois writes: I have an exciting an announcement! As you know I belong to a couple of writing groups, and one of them, based in Weston and called Writers in Stone (subtitled The Kick up the A*** Writing Group) has just published their second anthology! You may have read some of my contributions which I have shared here, but there are much better writers and poets than I am who have contributed to it.

Here is the blurb:

The long awaited second anthology by the Writers in Stone, Cuckoo is a collection of ten more themes from the writers’ monthly meetings in The Bay café in Weston-super-Mare. Subjects as diverse as Bicycle, Jealousy, Banging and, of course, Cuckoo, provide the inspiration for stories, poems and reflections on love, nature, childhood, ageing, fantasy, mystery and memory. Each theme is approached differently by all the writers, providing a breadth of humour, triumph, pathos and heartbreak that never ceases to amaze and delight.

What amazes me in our group is that a simple title – such as ‘Cuckoo’ can elicit such a varied response, funny stories, sad tales, dark mysteries, poems, pieces of writing in many styles. The writers themselves vary their work so no-one could be described in just one way, from tragedy to comedy, from poetic to gritty, it really feels like an honour to be in their company.

Here is my story for ‘Cuckoo’ which is very loosely based on true events!

Cuckoo

I was thinking of not very much as the headmaster droned on… It was warm in the hall as assembly wasted more precious moments of my life… didn’t I, didn’t we all, all the boys and masters have so much better things to do? I played music in my head to get through… Man of Mystery… the Shadows… better without the so-called heart throb Cliff… Tony Meehan… crikey… what a drummer… I would have patted out the rhythm on my legs except I was pressed hard between the others…
I was suddenly aware of a persistent whisper…
“Hey, hey Stanhope! Stanhope… hey!” I tried to see who was hissing at me, being the tallest not just in the year any more but in the upper school I could survey the rows of Brylcremed hair and bored faces. I looked over my other shoulder and saw Terrance, a boy I didn’t know, looking at me urgently. He whispered something which I didn’t catch, but the boys next to him seemed interested.
“What?” I whispered back and just as he was answering there was a bellow from the stage.
“Stanhope! See me after assembly, my room!”
Blast and damn, that would mean a lecture and probably lines, not detention, please not detention! I wanted to get into town to Hall’s record shop…
What did blasted Terrance want? I thought he’d whispered something about a group…

I hung around in the playground… I’d escaped detention and lines but had to tolerate the deputy head rabbiting on about silence in assembly, setting standards, discipline, the usual old tripe. Now I was waiting for Terrance.
He came out at a trot… he was the boy in a rugby school who dribbled a tennis ball round the playground playing solitary football. His hair slicked back, unmoving whatever he or the wind did, sculpted into something vaguely resembling Elvis’s style. His family were the local auctioneer’s – Terrance’s, not Elvis of course! – he had a brother… that was all I knew about him, football, Brylcreme, brother and auction house…
“Wotcha!” he greeted me with a smooth smile as if we knew each other. “Someone said you’re a drummer?”
I was hooked… I’d been described as someone who played the drums, as Harold’s boy who accompanied his dad in the pubs of the area, Harold on the piano, his boy on a high hat, snare and bass… but a drummer, you’re a drummer!

I’d gone along to Terrance’s house that evening… why his group needed a drummer was evident when I saw the split head of the former drummer’s snare… left too near the electric fire, the calf-skin had exploded in the night nearly giving Terrance heart failure. So in need of a new drummer, I’d been hissed at in assembly.
We were the Four Tones, David Terrance, me, Vic the butcher’s apprentice – on a good day in the shop he came to rehearsal’s stinking like an abattoir, and his mate Martin. Vic was bow legged, Martin knock-kneed, walking behind them, in their drainpipe trousers they spelt OX. Vic looked good, the girls loved him, but he couldn’t sing, and the end came for Martin when his guitar, strung with strings for a bass exploded on stage, the tension too much for the poor old thing…
Somehow we acquired Julian, a steady, committed and, more to the point, punctual bass player, and Pete who could have been quite good, if it hadn’t been for his girlfriend resenting the rehearsals… The Four Tones became the Easthopers – a name rapidly abandoned when a rival group called us the No-Hopers. It wasn’t until Terrance hooked a big fish in our parochial music pond… the legendary Gary Cook that we turned from a bunch of fourth years playing for church youth clubs, to a Group, with a capital G. We began to get gigs at working men’s clubs, in pubs, available, as someone said, for weddings, funerals and bar-mitzvahs!
Gary was slim lad with a powerful personality, just what we needed. He had a fearsome reputation with the ladies, not just girls our age, but women of eighteen and even nineteen! He was remarkable in many ways, perhaps the most obvious was that he was able to style his hair with Brylcreme so from the front he appeared not to be wearing his school-cap. His luxuriant locks (as he called them) were sculpted round the navy and pale blue cap, holding it firmly in place without hair clips (as was rumoured by enemies)
He also had not just a voice, but the voice we needed, Elvis, Cliff, Bobbies D., V, and G, Genes V., P., and A… you name it Gary nailed it! He was a powerful personality, but so was David Terrance, in a quieter but maybe more determined way… Dave however, knew which battles to fight so when it came to the name of the band he gave way gracefully.
We had been the Four Inches (each or between you?) the Earwigs, the Fivetones, and then the Cooks. We lasted a while as The Cooks, until once again rivals kept changing the posters advertising our gigs to The Cocks… We tried The Cookies, but the American influence was waning, and so almost effortlessly, and almost presciently, abandoning the The, we became Cuckoo…

Here is a link to our latest anthology:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cuckoo-Anthology-Group-Anthologies-Book-ebook/dp/B093JTMWS6/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=cuckoo+anthology&qid=1619721909&sr=8-1

… and in case you missed it, here’s a link to our previous anthology:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07QMMZ2LT/ref=series_dp_rw_ca_1

May 2nd… and our April review

Welcome to our April review. It’s over a year since our world and our lives changed so dramatically, and for many so disastrously. Here in the UK we are seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel, and we hope wherever you live the same is or will soon be true for you too. However, we aren’t forgetting those parts of the world where the situation is extremely serious and challenging, and we send our thoughts and hopes for change and improvement to everyone in those stricken places. Maybe our writing, and yours too, has been a support to you, and we send wishes that in the months ahead it will continue. We hope that you, your family and friends are safe and well, and offer our sincere thoughts to any of you who have been affected in any way whatsoever.

First of all…

The beginning of the year is often a quiet time, but now as the world opens we have been busy but carefully rejoining life as it should be. In our different ways this new life has been demanding and have not been as hot on writing which we regret has somewhat taken a back seat. However, as the days become longer and positive thoughts and feelings are springing like the seasonal flowers, maybe our thoughts will burst into leaf this coming month.

So, a few stats: in April we posted 6 stories, poems and other pieces which received 543 views, had 424 lovely visitors, 18 likes and 3 comments from 35 different countries.  As ever, it is really great and much appreciated, thank you very much to you all across the world! To all our readers, world-wide, thank you so much for joining us, and welcome to all our new friends.

The blog

We continue our busy 2021 writing activities, especially now when going out is not always an option; we may not roam outside, but we can roam in our imaginations! We continue to share our concerns about global issues and especially climate warming and the effects the way we live our lives impacts on our world. The situation home and abroad might be brightening, but the advice remains the same – you know what you have to do in your own country wherever you are, so do the right thing, protect yourselves, protect your family and friends, help the world to heal.

On a positive note, we welcome any contributions to our blog, especially now, from anyone who would like to write articles, stories or poems about anything! We love to share others writing of all sorts! Please send us any stories, poems, articles which we can share here – copyrighted to you and with full credits to you and links to your places!

News

Lois’s news:

Lois has busy with her next and as yet untitled Radwinter story, number eight in the series. She has also set herself a new challenge, which appears on her own blog, https://loiselsden.com/2021/05/01/100/ . On the occasion of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore’s birthday, a hundred day challenge has been announced. Ordinary folk have been challenged to do a hundred of a thing over a hundred days, and to be sponsored or donate to the Captain Tom Foundation. So what will Lois do? She will attempt to write a hundred word blog each day for a hundred days! She will update us next review when she will be thirty-one days into the challenge.

Richard’s news:

As ever, Richard continues to busily pursue a variety of different writing projects, – and just to remind you all, his latest book, An Arctic Adventure is available now; it chronicles his adventures in Greenland and Iceland. Go to his Richard Kefford Amazon page where you will find it and his other books! Richard is polishing up his magnifying lens and geologist’s hammer, waterproofing his boots and refolding his maps ready for some rocky adventures. He hopes to be out with his geology group on walks, rambles and adventures, and no doubt will share them here.

Other dragon news:

John, Lois and Richard belong to a writing group who are now pulling together stories, poems and other pieces to make a collection for an anthology. Early days, but we will bring you news and more details as it becomes available. The working title is Pendemic: 5 writers in lockdown.

Dragon publications

All our published work is available on Amazon, search for Gillian Peall, John Watts, Richard Kefford, and Lois Elsden.

Just a reminder that our friend historian and blogger, Andrew Simpson, who shares many of the stories from his own blog, is writing some very interesting articles not only addressing the difficulties of our times, but how ordinary people, just like us, coped in the past. You can find his blog https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/ ; his published books are available on Amazon.

A further reminder, our friend Ann Bancroft also has a book available on Amazon, an account of her spiritual journey.

Until the end of next month, au revoir! Keep following our blog!!

Stuff

Nāgārjuna

Nāgārjuna was an Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist thinker and philosopher who lived around 200 CE. He is one of the greatest thinkers in Asian philosophy. His Mūlamadhyamakakārikā ( MHK ) book on the Middle Way is the most important text on the Madhyamaka philosophy of emptiness. It is still studied today.

His thought was that everything ends in emptiness. Nothing exists on its own. An object needs an observer for it to exist – even in the two sphere view of the Universe and even more so in the three sphere view.

Dante

In Dante’s time – born 1265 in Florence, God was seen as a pinpoint of light outside the universe – surrounded by nine angels. How can you have something outside the Universe? Dante said that everything in heaven and hell was inside the Universe – encased in the two spheres. God existed in the three sphere universe. Imagine you cut the Earth in half around the equator and then turn the two haves to face you. You would see two equators and if you set off from any point on the equator, you would eventually end up where you started. This was the original proof that the Earth was round. If you then created another sphere, it would have to be outside the Earth whatever shape it was – within this space or sphere resided God with her angels. The most favoured shape for the ‘third sphere’ at the moment is a doughnut.

Einstein

Einstein came along with his special theory of relativity showing that among other things that the speed of light was fixed and non relative.

Lemaitre

A catholic priest from Belgium, Father Lemaitre, then worked on the special theory and changed it a little .

Einstein

Einstein saw this and realised he could prove his general theory of relativity which included the proof that the Earth was round and gravity was just a warping of space time thus proving Newton nearly right and Maxwell completely so.

Heisenberg

Heisenberg worked on Neils Bohr’s incomplete equations and what he regarded as Einsteins incorrect view until he came up with an idea that changed the world. He had glimpsed “a strangely beautiful interior”. The rest of the gang, Pauli, Mach, Dirac, Born, all went over his results and reluctantly had to agree with him. Bohr came around, reluctantly, eventually – Einstein never did. What he had done was show that the position and velocity of a particle – say an electron – was only a probability. If one particle exists by probability, then every other particle in the universe does the same. The next step is to see that a particle does not exist until it reacts to something else, A particle cannot exist on its own. This is the outcome of the miss-named ‘Observer effect.

The next step was to prove this in a lab by experiment. I will not bore you with the details but it proved to be so – every time. It all starts from the two slit experiment – which is impossible by common sense. This science is called quantum mechanics. I don’t understand it, I’m glad to say because Richard Feynman said, “ if you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don’t.” This science has gone through many changes and iterations since Heisenberg’s discovery in the 1920s. This has included but is not limited to: The Mutiverse, Brane theory, String theory, and, at the moment Carlo Rovelli is working on Quantum Gravity and Reactive Quanta which includes all Heisenberg’s equations.

He started from the basics of Nāgārjuna’s work all those centuries ago. If an electron only exists through probability – how can you know it is there? You need a detector so the logic is that electron does not exist until a detector looks for it. Therefore a particle cannot exist on its own. This is called entanglement or “spooky action at a distance”, or “God does not play dice”. Both sayings are attributed to an unconvinced Einstein.

But quantum entanglement has been proven to work over vast distances – light years in fact.

The latest news on this is that CERN have just discovered a new to science particle that carries a fifth force  – which changes most of the theories listed above. So now we have a whole new science to play with.

Pandemic of 2020/2021

Have you noticed a theme running through these notes.? ”Things do not exist until there are two of them to react with each other.” – or maybe three according to some particle physicists.

Isn’t it strange that the same thing sort of applies to humans – they are not happy on their own and tend to wither and die in very extreme cases of loneliness. 

Was Nāgārjuna on the right track over 2,000  years ago? Did Dante have the right idea? Without the priest Lemaitre, would Einsten have gone even further wrong?  Do we owe the modern world to Heisenberg? No modern electronics could work without Quantum Theory – no, not even your mobile or iPad. No one understands it but it works.

The journey to present day thinking has needed science, philosophy and religion.

What will Carlo Rovelli and his colleagues go on to discover and understand?

Isn’t all this a wonderful world and it is all probably made of stuff we have never  seen and probably never will.’

Just as an oyster needs a dirty, piece of grit to create a beautiful, nacreous pearl so the human race may need the evil nonsense that is religion to bring forth the wondrous beauty that is the scientific view of the universe.

© Richard Kefford 2021